I got the chance to go home and visit my Chicago family for the first time in over a year and a half. Out of everyone in my family the main focus of my trip was to see my Grandma. If you know me then you know I am the definition of a Grandma’s girl. She is my main girl. Going so long without seeing her was definitely the toughest part of this pandemic. However, as hard as it was to not see her, I am thankful for her continued health throughout this entire ordeal. I, unfortunately, know quite a few people who can not say the same regarding their loved ones this last year. Being able to give her a masked up huge hug multiple times is exactly what my soul needed.
Chicago/Chicagoland suburbs hold such a special place in my heart. I spent 22 years of my life growing up in various areas and the connect I feel to these places isn’t lost on me. Specifically the Northside of Chicago and Evanston. Outside of seeing my favorite people, eating at my favorite restaurants, and requesting my favorite home cooked meals, being a tourist in the city is a must. Chicago truly has such a magical feel to it. There is something about riding in the car while cruising down Lake Shore Drive that will never get old. The views of the water and skyline will never get old. I’ve noticed it’s the little parts of the city that draw me in. The architecture, CTA buses and L trains, artwork all over the city, etc.
In the same connection I feel to Chicago I feel the same disconnection with each trip. Whenever I return “home” for a visit I feel more and more like an actual visitor. Once upon a time, in the beginning of this military life journey, I felt like a misplaced visitor in whatever state we occupied at the time. Now, I have completely shifted and feel home is where my husband and children are at the time. It’s funny how things change and somehow stay the same.
I got to spend time with my sisters and their Dad’s family for Easter. This was the first Easter I had been home in forever so it was great getting a chance to eat great food with even better company. I got to do my traditional dinner date with my Uncle Tony and my cousin Ashley. We enjoyed food and live music at “Good To Go” in Evanston. Then we drove around for hours just talking and catching up. My Mommy treated me to a “girls day” pedicure which was my first since 2020! Thankfully, I’ve gotten to see my Mom throughout the pandemic year. (Praise hands) I also got to spend multiple days hanging out with my best friend, Tyree. We even tried a new breakfast restaurant together that was delicious! I missed my BFFL.
The most important part of the trip is the time I got to spend with my Grandmother. Oh, and did I mention she taught me how to make Belizean tamales from scratch while I was home?! It was such a great bonding time being about to have her to myself for once. I’ve been sharing her for so long I almost forgot what it was like to have one on one uninterrupted time with her. What a blessing it is at the age of 32 to still be able to create memories with my Grandma. I don’t take any of it for granted.
I don’t have many pictures from the most special parts of this trip because I was truly so present in the moment I didn’t even think about it. However, I did get video of my Grandma and I making tamales. But just like the pictures I didn’t take those videos will remain in my special memory bank forever. This most recent trip back “home” was everything I needed and more. I can never express in enough words how thankful I am for this life and everyone placed in it.